ENFIELD Borough’s first FA Vase campaign ended in a battling defeat after they were beaten 4-2 by Berkhamsted after extra-time on Saturday.

Facing opposition who are unbeaten in the Spartan South Midlands League so far this season and top of the division above, it took two hours of highly competitive football before the visitors were finally able to tame the Panthers.

While Enfield can look back at their performance with pride, they know they had, and missed, the chances to progress further in the competition.

There was one enforced change from the previous week’s win at St Neots with Henderson Browne replacing the suspended Thomas Opoku.

The early stages were evenly balanced, with Borough far from overawed by their higher-ranked opponents, but Berkhamsted created the better opportunities.

The visitors made one count after 22 minutes when Steve Hawes slotted home through a cluster of defenders after Lukosius had beaten out a shot from Chris Blunden.

This seemed just the spur that Enfield needed and within seven minutes they were level when Browne’s 20-yard shot was parried by Carl Tasker, but only into the path of Tage Kennedy, who side-footed home from an acute angle.

The game opened up and both teams had chances to take the lead, with the best falling to Borough.

Kennedy was unable to find the target from Browne’s 40-yard pin-point pass, before Richard Ennin dragged his shot wide.

The quality of the football in the second half failed to reach the heights of the first period as the battle for supremacy revolved around the centre of the pitch.

Both sides made changes in an attempt to make the breakthrough, but as the game entered the latter stages Berkhamsted upped the ante and it looked like their pressure had been rewarded with three minutes remaining when Jon Munday scored from a corner.

Enfield had no choice but to throw caution to the wind and their efforts were to pay off.

A spell of pinball in the Berkhamsted penalty box saw Jamiah Plentie-Lawrence’s goal-bound effort blocked. Enfield appealed for a penalty, but before the referee had a chance to make a decision, Isaac Stevens drove home the loose ball and was duly submerged below a pile of ecstatic teammates.

Enfield’s chances of taking the lead were to come in the first period of extra-time as Stevens fired over from inside the six-yard box, before the substitute saw a shot hit the underside of the crossbar and rebound to safety.

But it was Berkhamsted who finished the stronger and they went in front midway through the second period when Alex Campana netted with an exquisite chip.

This time there was to be no comeback and four minutes from time Sean Coughlan added a fourth at the third attempt after a shot had been saved and an improvised back-heeled follow-up blocked.